Aventine Renewable Energy celebrated its first unit-train ethanol shipment on April 19, heading from its plants in Aurora, Nebraska, to Birmingham, Alabama. Working in partnership with BNSF, Aventine can now ship 100-unit trains to destinations in California, Illinois, Texas and Alabama.
Aventine Renewable Energy celebrated its first unit-train ethanol shipment on April 19, heading from its plants in Aurora, Nebraska, to Birmingham, Alabama. Working in partnership with BNSF, Aventine can now ship 100-unit trains to destinations in California, Illinois, Texas and Alabama.

Aventine Renewable Energy Inc., a leading producer, marketer and supplier of ethanol, announced its first BNSF unit-train shipment of ethanol produced at its two ethanol facilities in Aurora, Neb.

On April 19 Aventine’s first unit train pulled out of Aurora heading to Birmingham, Alabama. The ethanol will be blended in gasoline to enhance octane, and will also help reduce America's dependence on foreign oil.

“It's a major milestone in executing unit trains out of Aurora, eliminating obsolete single-car switching and moving Aventine assets into the highly efficient unit-train supply chain mode,” said Mark Beemer, Aventine's president and CEO.

"Through a solid partnership with the BNSF, Aventine now has direct access from the BNSF mainline to our inner-loop unit-train track, using a newly installed mainline switch, track and a rail crossover built on Aventine's land," Beemer stated. “With our ability to produce 155-million gallons of ethanol, additional economics will be driven by quicker and more efficient moves of ethanol trains into large unit-train consumptive end markets.”

Two years ago Beemer and the Aventine management team devised a strategic plan to logistically derisk the facility from adverse local conditions. Tactics deployed beyond the rail upgrades include installing four new truck scales, two new grain-grading labs and additional corn storage.

With unit-train capacity, Beemer noted, "Aventine is excited about opening new 100-car unit train markets.” In addition to Birmingham these include Watson, California; Chicago and East St. Louis, Illinois; and Dallas, Houston, Deer Park, Fort Worth, Beaumont and Texas City, Texas.

In Aurora Aventine operates the Aurora West 110-million-gallon Delta T facility and the Nebraska Energy LLC Vogelbusch 45-million-gallon dry mill plant. "By restarting both plants and making $20 million in efficiency upgrades, Aventine has been able to create local jobs in Aurora and contribute to the Nebraska economy while also providing local Aurora farmers with higher values for their corn and supplying local cattle feeders with competitively priced dried and wet distillers grain,” Beemer added. The company has hired 83 employees to date for an annualized payroll of $5.4 million.

In Pekin, Illinois, the company’s headquarters, Aventine operates two plants: a 60-million-gallon dry mill and a 100-million-gallon wet mill.